UnCapped: Juicy Brewing Co. in Herndon, Va.
May 3—In this episode of the UnCapped podcast, host Chris Sands heads down Herndon, Virginia, to talk with Juicy Brewing Co. founder Anton Sagan, brand ambassador John Moore and head brewer Jay Bergantim, about Sagan's background, the history of the brewery, and the overseas festivals they will be attending, as well as Mega Fresh, the festival they'll be throwing on June 17. Here is an excerpt of their talk.
UnCapped: How did you come to want to open a brewery, Anton?
Anton Sagan: Good question. How did I end up here? All my life, beer has been a big part of it. We're talking 18-plus. I'm from Australia, so we can start drinking at 18. A passion for beer is pretty much the answer.
UnCapped: Why do you not have even remotely an Australian accent?
Sagan: No idea. I need to get more beers in me.
UnCapped: So being a craft beer fan is what got you here?
Sagan: Absolutely. The States is where craft beer is really thriving, right? So that's where I ended up moving.
UnCapped: What were you doing before you opened the brewery?
Sagan: I come from a corporate background. Ten years ago, I started my own venture, a bar, which, over time, led me to meet some fantastic people in the hops growing regions of Australia and New Zealand, where I was based.
Sometimes we're asked here at Juicy if having access to amazing hops gives us an edge, and I say, "Look, they certainly help, but good hops don't make good beer."
UnCapped: Where was your bar?
Sagan: Melbourne, Australia. After to that, the wholesale of hops was the business that got my attention, and that's more or less the last eight years.
UnCapped: When did you move to the U.S.?
Sagan: I haven't officially yet. I'm in the process.
UnCapped: Are you still on a walkabout?
UnCapped: I don't think I've ever been on vacation to somewhere else in the world and have not met people from Australia who were on their walkabout.
UnCapped: So you were on your walkabout and decided to open a brewery.
Sagan: Yes, that was the end point I was trying to get to. The bar is long gone, and the sale of the hops business took place last year, so I could get into this. I still part own [the hops business], but it's a separate venture altogether, and it still allows us to get access to some fantastic products that are coming out.
UnCapped: When I first [learned about you], I thought, how the hell is that name not taken? Was Juicy your first choice for a name?
Sagan: No. I struggle to remember the other names, but Juicy was iconic because as much as some people have called us out for being tacky, as long as you deliver on the promise of being juicy, you can take that name. ... So far I think we managed to deliver on that name, for hazys and fruit sours.
UnCapped: When did you officially open?
Sagan: We did our soft opening on Australia Day last year, the 25th of January. The official opening was sometime in February 2022.
This excerpt has been edited for space and clarity. Listen to the full podcast at fnppodcasts.com/uncapped. Got UnCapped news? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.